Use CGI To Automate
Your Web Site
By Shelley Lowery
Are you taking advantage of the powerful automation technology available on the Internet? Common Gateway Interface, better known as CGI, is one of the most widely used server applications on the Internet. This software resides on your server and automatically performs specified functions on your web site.
If you've been on the Internet for a while, you've probably seen many examples of CGI use and didn't even realize it. Search Engines, Directories and Forums all use CGI scripts. Scripts can run everything from a form on your web site to an affiliate program. They can give you the power to completely automate your web site.
There are scripts online that can automate all of the following:
* Make your product available for download * Take the customers order * Approve it right online * Send your customer a password * Send you a confirmation of the order
You can sell your products around the clock and never lift a finger.
Visit SuperScripts for a large selection of commercial scripts.
If you have a subscription box on your web site, then you're already using a program to process the information. That's a good start however, there are many additional ways you can use this powerful technology.
Here are some great scripts to get you started.
The Master Series:
This form will enable you to have the results emailed to you or to a specified address. It can write your information to a database file and even enable you to have a personalized thank you page. In addition, you can even have multi-page forms with no limit on the number of pages.
Allow your visitors to provide you with feedback. Master Feedback enables you to add your own information fields with radio buttons, checkboxes, dropdown lists and text fields. The great thing about using Master Feedback is that it helps you spam- proof your site by not requiring your email address anywhere on your page.
Word of mouth is one of the best forms of advertising. Master Recommend will enable your visitors to recommend your web site to a friend. This great script is multi-lingual, which means that the emails sent can be written in any language.
Master Subscriber Pro
Enable your visitors to subscribe to multiple ezines by checking the boxes beside the publication they wish to subscribe. They'll only need to enter their email address one time and won't be forced to leave your web site.
The great thing about this script is that it is compatible with ezines hosted with Egroups, Topica, etc., or any ezine that uses an email address for subscriptions.
Click here for the Master Series scripts.
This great script will enable you to set up your own forum. Unlike most bulletin board scripts, WebBBS stores messages as simple text files and creates HTML pages as needed. It also supports automatic quoting of message text and email notification of those who want to be informed of new posts.
Set up a rotating banner system on your web site and track response rates. WebAdverts will enable you to not only set up a rotating banner system, but if you'd like, you can set up your own banner exchange. Banners can be displayed on your pages using SSI tags, IFRAME tags, or standard IMG tags.
The great thing about this script is that you can include banners on CGI-generated pages. In addition, you can filter the banners by allowing certain banners to appear only on certain pages. This script is a little complicated, but well worth it.
If you've ever wanted to set up a directory, this great script will make it simple. It is modeled after Yahoo and inspired by The CGI Resource Index. It can be completely customized to match the look and feel of your web site.
The Personal Open Directory script will enable you to pull the contents of the Open Directory Project into your own web pages. It is completely customizable and will enable your visitors to have access to this great directory without leaving your web site.
Learn more about CGI at HowStuffWorks.
Locate CGI Scripts at The CGI Resource Index
If you're not utilizing the full benefits that CGI has to offer, you're missing the boat. Not only will it save you a great deal of time, but it will also process your information around the clock. Scripts can assist you in making your web site an interactive community and bring your site to life.
About The Author
Shelley Lowery is the Webmistress of Web-Source.net, Your Guide to Professional Web Site Design & Development. Subscribe to Syndicator Etips for fresh, original articles to assist you in Web Design, Internet Marketing & Ecommerce.